At 8 pm on Tuesday, September 14, A Horrible Way to Die had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival. In attendance (besides myself) were Adam, Travis, Kim, Zak, our stars AJ Bowen, Amy Seimetz, Joe Swanberg, Brandon Carroll and Lane Hughes, supporting actor Michael Wilson, our co-DP Chris Hilleke, and associate producer Brad Miska.
We screened in Theater 2 at the AMC Yonge & Dundas 24, an enormous multiplex that had been taken over for festival screenings. The large theater was almost full, with only a few seats available in the front rows. That was surprising enough, but even more surprisingly, the audience seemed to love our film, applauding through most of the end credits. A few filmmakers I admire were randomly in attendance as well, such as Jim Mickle, Larry Fessenden and Bobcat Goldthwait. It was really cool.
Even better than any of that, though, was seeing how A Horrible Way to Die looked and sounded on a massive screen and a Dolby sound system. Adam and I had both been a little nervous about this, as our HDCAM tape transfers for the festival had to be put together quite hastily, but as soon as the movie began, we couldn’t believe how amazing the images and sound mix came out. The festival provided us with a tech rep for our screening, Keith, who consulted with Adam and me beforehand, and we remain grateful to him for his assistance. It was an unbelievable pleasure to see the movie in such a perfect theatrical environment.
Afterwards, we all got up onstage with beloved celebrity TIFF programmer Colin Geddes for a fun and occasionally informative Q&A session. Then we all went and got really drunk at a nearby bar, and then I staggered with Brad, Zak and Colin’s fiancée Kat to go see the midnight premiere of Insidious while everyone else journeyed by cab to some SXSW party, because apparently only Brad, Zak, Kat and I know how to keep it real at a film festival. Of course, I was so drunk that I literally remember almost nothing about that movie, but keeping it real isn’t about results, it’s about the effort.
Of course none of us took any photos of this event because Taylor Glascock wasn’t there and we were all frankly pretty overwhelmed at the time. And drunk. But photos were taken of us by sober professionals, as you can see.
Less than 48 hours later, after some insanely exciting hours, we signed a distribution deal for both a theatrical and home video release of A Horrible Way to Die in the U.S., U.K., Canada and Australia with Anchor Bay Entertainment. We chose Anchor Bay over other distributors not only because they have an excellent reputation in the filmmaking community, but because they seem to really get our film and know how to promote it. Anchor Bay started out mostly as a DVD label focusing on genre fare, but in recent years they’ve successfully expanded as a theatrical distributor and production studio. Just this year, they’ve released the arthouse hits Solitary Man and City Island, as well as smaller genre films such as Frozen and The Disappearance of Alice Creed, and have many more films on their 2011 slate, including another acclaimed TIFF selection, Beautiful Boy, and the big budget video game adaptation Tekken. At the risk of jinxing ourselves, we have every confidence that our movie will be a huge sleeper hit for them next year. We’re pretty damn excited to be part of the Anchor Bay library and hope that this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
Details of our upcoming theatrical release through Anchor Bay Films, etc., will of course be posted here and elsewhere. In the meantime, though, our U.S. premiere at Fantastic Fest will be in Austin, TX this upcoming Sunday, September 26, at 6:30 pm at the Alamo Drafthouse Lamar. We screen again at the same location on Tuesday, September 28, at 5:45 pm. So if you live in Austin or are attending Fantastic Fest, please come out and see us. I’ll be there, in addition to Adam, AJ, Travis and Zak. If our Toronto audiences are any indication, it should be a pretty great time.